Excommunion – Thronosis (Brutal Death/Black Metal)

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Been waiting to review this EP for quite some time now and lucky I was to receive it in the latest The Metalhead Box so I could listen to it on an actual cd. Excommunion is a band I am not too familiar with but I’ve heard good stuff about them. The band was formed in 1998, Colorado, and are known for playing brutal death metal with atmospheric black metal elements, which is exactly the reason they caught my eye. That and the two band members Christbutcher (bass, vocals) and Kyle Spanswick (guitars, vocals) both being active members of Nightbringer. So there has to be a lot of potential in a band like that.

Oh and was I right! The opener Twilight of Eschaton is freaking brutal! I swear to you this is an EP you do not want to miss. I understand perfectly what they mean with atmospheric black elements joined together with the sheer force of brutal death metal. It’s a sound I haven’t really heard before but hell I love it. You can hear that this is death metal from members you usually associate with the black metal scene with influences from both Nightbringer and Enthroned being heard here and there. Just like Morbid Angel, Incantation and Immolation makes their influences on Excommunion.

Each track stands tall on their own, none being the weak link. I could choose either one of the tracks for my favorite song, not just due to the four songs being being solid with none standing out. Rather I think they all do in their own right.

Ladies and gentlemen be taken in by this whirlwind of darkness like me, you deserve it. Thronosis is my rite into Excommunion and I am ready for them to lead the way. One of the best releases I’ve heard all year.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Excommunion
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Enthroned and Morbid Angel
Favorite song: Twilight of Eschaton
Score: 4/5

Plague Throat – The Human Paradox (Technical Death Metal)

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From India we have one of the biggest death metal surprises of the year so far in Plague Throat and their album The Human Paradox. The band plays a heavy and technical death metal style that reminds me a lot of Nile, Origin, Suffocation and Hour of Penance. That’s some big names and hard market to break into but Plague Throat makes a really good try at it and this is in all honesty the best music I’ve heard coming from India, not that I’ve heard a big deal of bands from the area though but still. So how does Plague Throat fare against those heavy hitters?

Fact is they can stand tall against them, The Human Paradox shows a lot of promise and songs like Fallible Transgression and Hour of Darkness are just as technical and good death metal like the bigger names out there. They might not have the vast experience and originality some of those bands have (or used to have at least) but The Human Paradox is an album they can build on. I totally get how Plague Throat can go on to win Wacken Metal Battle India and be seen as one of the upcoming exports that can hit it big from India as they sure got a lot of the boxes checked in for doing so.

In all honesty I had just as good of a time listening to The Human Paradox as I had with Origin’s latest album Unparalleled Universe. Only thing is it misses that stand out song like Unequivocal for example but in return I find this a more tight album all around. One thing is certain, Plague Throat is definitely the band to look out for from India as they are bound to spread their plague upon the world eventually.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/plaguethroat3
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PlagueThroat3
Label: Transcending Obscurity India
For fans of: Hour of Penance and Origin
Favorite song: Hour of Darkness
Score: 3.5/5

Father Befouled – Desolate Gods (Death Metal)

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Since the bands formation in 2007 Father Befouled have been very active releasing two EPs, four splits and Desolate Gods will make it their fourth full-length album. This is very slow tempo, heavy death metal the way Incantation and Dead Congregation also does it. Almost on the verge of sounding doom or sludge metal at times just as they up the tempo and unleash the chaos. The atmosphere on the album is very filthy and vile, especially due to the lyrical content filled with death and blasphemy.

The album starts off with Offering Revulsion and Mortal Awakening being the raw destructive force I had in mind when I got this album. The tempo-changes hit the right spots and Father Befouled shows they have really taken a few steps in the right direction since their 2012 release Revulsion of Seraphic Grace (haven’t listen to their first two full-length albums though so have that in mind). It’s the small bits and pieces here and there which makes Desolate Gods better. The core sound is very much the same but the production and overall quality of the songs are better. There are a couple of songs I am not too sold on like Exalted Offal but Ungodly Rest instantly makes up for it as the last four tracks are also the best ones on the album.

Desolate Gods is a rather good release and Father Befouled have taken steps in the right direction to perfect their sound. I still think Father Befouled got some way to go before they can take on the beast that is Incantation for real but they are showing nice progress. Fans of the bands earlier releases or Incantation will dig this vile spawn. Desolate Gods is out now through Dark Descent Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FatherBefouled
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Incantation and Dead Congregation
Favorite song: Ungodly Rest

Valgrind – Seal of Phobos (Death Metal)

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Despite the name Valgrind being Swedish (it’s the main entrance to Valhalla) the band in itself is from Italy. If you’ve read my blog this year then you probably know by now that I really dig what Italy has produced this year, with some of the best releases having come from there. Valgrind is a band that’s been going for a long time, since 1993, but only produced demo’s until 2002 when their first EP came out then in 2012 they released their debut full-length album Morning Will Come No More. Seal of Phobos is a five track EP continuing Valgrind’s crusade and last years death metal goodness Speech of the Flame.

Seal of Phobos will leave no death metal lover standing still as it features a flurry of crushing riffs and is aggressive as hell. This will surely get your blood pumping. The bands newest member, guitarist Umberto Poncina, makes a fine debut and might be one of the reasons why this sounds like Valgrind’s heaviest release as of yet. The solos are on point and I only got one negative thing to say about this EP really, that it’s only an EP and not a full-length album! I love myself some classic death metal and when it’s done this well I can’t do anything else than to sit back, take a sip of my beer and headbang in joy. The two favorite tracks for me are the two last ones, Traitors Will Bleed and Ekphora’s Day, where Jonny Petterson (Wombbath, Ashcloud and Henry Kane) makes a great guest appearance.

Seal of Phobos is a solid pickup for anyone who wants some classic hard hitting death metal. It’s Valgrind’s most aggressive release yet and also their best, it’s looking really well for their upcoming full-length. Seal of Phobos is out now through Everlasting Spew Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valgrindband
For fans of: Morbid Angel and Monstrosity
Favorite song: Traitors Will Bleed

Maze of Sothoth – Soul Demise (Death Metal)

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Italy, a country that’s been very active this year with a new Hour of Penance release and upcoming albums from Antropofagus as well as Hideous Divinity. With that kind of heavy hitters it might be easy to forget a new challenger with the same origin, Maze Of Sothoth. What differs Maze of Sothoth from said bands is that they play more traditional death metal drawing influences from the likes of Morbid Angel, Vomitory and Vader. Add to the fact that their lyrics are heavily themed around HP Lovecraft and horror then you got yourself another beast entirely.

Cthulhu’s Calling opens up with setting an feeling of unease and horror until Maze of Sothoth blasts off with furious riffs on Lies. Make no mistakes Maze of Sothoth are here to bring the riffs to you metalheads who feels the urge to headbang tonight over a few cold beers. It’s very catchy, evil and reeks of death. Just the way us old school death metal fans wants it. The HP Lovecraft theme just adds to the pure evilness coming into my ears. I am honestly a bit surprised how well Maze of Sothoth pulls this off. Marasco and Rubini do a splendid job on guitars bringing out those killer riffs, Moioli on drums is a beast and Marchesi on bass and vocals totally nails it. Together they do really sound like an reborn Italian version of Vomitory, which is freaking sweet and full of vile energy. I do feel a few songs doesn’t deliver that same punch as for example Lies and Divine Sacrifice does but at the same time this is a debut album. When Maze of Sothoth are at it’s peak then they are a band to look out for.

Maze of Sothoth delivers a great full-length debut album with Soul Demise and I can’t wait to see what they got in store for us next. Fans of old school death metal in the veins of Vomitory, Morbid Angel and Vader got yourselves a new band to look into! Soul Demise is out now from Everlasting Spew Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MazeofSothothOfficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Maze_of_Sothoth
For fans of: Morbid Angel and Vomitory
Favorite song: Lies

Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation (Death Metal)

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From the vains of the legendary death metal supremes such as Entombed and Dismember comes American band Gatecreeper with their debut full-length Sonoran Depravation. While being heavy influenced by the old school Swedish death metal sound Gatecreeper manages to keep it fresh and Sonoran Depravation is an album even Entombed would be happy to have in their discography. The album is filled with goovy headbanging material.

What makes Sonoran Depravation stick out is that every song feel different, in a good way. I can listen to this album over and over again and find new favorite tracks each time. Another good thing is they keep it short and sweet, relentless 30 minutes of death metal madness. You don’t really need more do you? Pedal to the metal, going in 120 all the way to the finish is what death metal is all about to me. One or two more songs wouldn’t hurt of course but I rather have a good 30 minutes with high quality than quantity.

This is death metal at it’s finest. Gatecreeper is a nice fresh wind in the death metal genre, yet keeping it old school and will surely bring in some new fans to the genre. A must have album.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gatecreeper
For fans of: Entombed and Dismember
Favorite song: Stronghold

Sons of Balaur – Tenebris Deos (Black Metal)

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Get ready for the Sons of Balaur! Black metal horror and the cult followers of the vampire Balaur! When I read their description and history of the band on facebook (EVERYONE should do this as it is epic!) I immediately fell in love with the band and their take on black metal. Sons of Balaur is actually a fictional Norwegian band taken from the graphic novel Realm of the Damned. Funny enough the band played on the release for that graphic novel’s animated motion comic (which features voices from Huntress, Cradle of Filth and a former Morbid Angel member).

I think this is something quite unique to do (even though it has happened at least once before I can imagine), making a fictional band come to reality. It just makes all the background story of the band and getting into it before even starting to listen even more fun in my opinion. The music in itself you should take very serious though and not just see it as a . This is great black metal with that old school Norway touch (band is located in the UK though), however well produced and doesn’t really have that “dirty” sound. Which is fine by me and I enjoyed listening to this, as well as reading up on the band and history. I even got interested in reading the graphic novel to know more about the Sons of Balaur. With that said I say well done! The band has really done it’s job on creating hype around the world from Realm of the Dead, along with creating some great music that could stand well on its own.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SoBKvlt
For fans of: Netherbird and Khonsu
Favorite song: The Curse of Bloodlust